CetraRuddy Architecture - The Choice School Calicut, a school that highlights the process of learning
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The Choice School Calicut, a school that highlights the process of learning

CetraRuddy Architecture

Education  /  Future
CetraRuddy Architecture

The client desired a school that highlights the process of learning. Another goal was to design a school that is of its culture, yet progressive, creating future global stewardship for its students. To fulfill this goal, the design team decided to emphasize the visibility of learning and social environments; a circulation hierarchy to distinguish individual school blocks and grade levels within; activity nodes laced throughout; formation of "internal" linear courts to promote social interaction; and school block “streets” to promote identity, community and security.

To support the notion of gateway and arrival, a grand exterior staircase at the center of the linear school blocks ascends the hilly terrain. This topography is the principal organizing element for each school block, with younger children at the base and older students rising to the top. Intersecting views and vistas enable students to orient themselves visually and spatially. Taking cues from the region’s cultural and climatic contexts, the new Choice School in Calicut becomes part of the landscape in its massing strategy and in materiality, form and reference.

The campus incorporates concrete structures for thermal mass; natural ventilation and shading for reduced air-conditioning costs; local materials; green roofs and roof overhangs to reduce heat gain; highly insulated walls and roofs; and the use of daylight rather than electrical lighting in many of the spaces. Incorporation of locally sourced building materials such as laterite facing blocks are envisioned for the site’s retaining walls. This strategy relies on local building techniques and materials for a cost-effective, durable and resilient resolution. The colorful vertical metal "fins" integrated into the elevations are designed in such a way to help reduce solar heat gain into the building.

The client's focus for the new campus was experiential learning, prioritizing exploration, observation, and the learning process over testing and certification. They aimed to create a culturally rooted yet progressive school that fosters global stewardship. Design-wise, the facility needed to embody this philosophy, promoting creativity, purpose, adventure, and enjoyment in learning. The campus utilizes green roof spaces integrated into the landscape, providing flexible indoor/outdoor gathering areas and athletic facilities. Incorporating the hilly terrain was a challenge, but it allowed the design team to create a unique educational experience while preserving the site's character. The phased construction plan ensures educational goals are met as the campus expands. A grand exterior staircase serves as a central organizing element, symbolizing the students' progression from the younger to older grades. Views and vistas throughout the campus help students orient themselves and create focused spaces for learning and development. Designated student "streets" feature interactive nodes, extending experiential learning beyond classrooms and fostering a sense of community and place.



 Choice School
 20904 mq
 CetraRuddy Architecture D.P.C.
 John Cetra, Nancy J. Ruddy, Theresa M. Genovese, Ruben Cabanillas Ramos, Rachely Rotem, Rei Celo


CetraRuddy is an award-winning architecture, planning, and interior design firm based in New York City. With over 36 years of experience, they are known for creating innovative and financially successful projects that engage context and enrich the human spirit. Their practice spans residential, academic, hospitality, and commercial uses, reflecting a commitment to community, context, and the human experience. CetraRuddy believes in designing sustainable, resilient, and inclusive communities that promote health and wellness while inspiring and invigorating individuals. Their DNA is defined by six pillars, including Architecture is Home, Every Site has a Story, and History Matters. Led by Principals John Cetra and Nancy J. Ruddy, the firm emphasizes collaboration and principal involvement throughout all project phases. Their portfolio has earned national and international recognition, and their designs blend materials, details, and branding to provide unique and cost-effective solutions.


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